Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are increasingly becoming the preferred weapon of choice for the armed forces globally. India too has in the recent months turned its attention to investing in drones for its armed forces.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is soon going to send out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to five start-ups for Swarm Drones. These Swarm Drones have the capability to carry out precision strikes on enemy targets with standoff missiles.
Why are drones critical for the forces?
The armed forces, as well as non state entities have started using them more than ever before. “Their indispensability is not surprising, as they are not very expensive, they have high degree of effectiveness, and provide high degree of deniability,” an expert explains to Financial Express Online.
The Indian Armed forces have been planning to import drones not just for surveillance, intelligence gathering and reconnaissance but also for using them in different operations.
Last year when the Indian and Chinese forces were locked into standoff along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, drones were taken on lease from Israel and the US for intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance.
IAF’s RFP for drones
The IAF is expected to issue the RfP for two sets of Swarm Drones to the five start-ups and these will cost Rs 100 crore. These start-ups have been identified through the Mehar Baba Swarm Drone Competition organized by the IAF in 2018. They made 50 drones over two years during the competition.
They will get help from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Base Repair Depots. These BRDs have already been identified and have the expertise in carrying out overhaul and repairs of the fighter jets as well as other equipment.